The Observer features Roehampton research project, Engendering the Stage

  • Monday, December 19, 2022

Revealed: how women bankrolled rival to 17th century Globe theatre” a recent article by the Observer, features the research of the Roehampton project, Engendering the Stage: The Records of Early Modern Performance.

The research project is led by Clare McManus, Professor of Early Modern Literature and Theatre at the University of Roehampton and Prof. Lucy Munro, Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature at King’s College London. It is funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant and is part of the Roehampton Centre for Literature & Inclusion.

Image - The Observer features Roehampton research project, Engendering the Stage

The Engendering the Stage team are rewriting the history of Shakespearean theatre by investigating the evidence for performance by women, children, and gender nonconforming individuals. As part of the project, Prof. Munro’s new research reveals that, while male performers may have dominated the early modern stage, female investors were a driving force behind one of the foremost playhouses of the 17th century.

Munro has discovered that women made up a large part of the financial force behind the Fortune theatre, the great rival to the Globe, partly built by the actor for whom Christopher Marlowe wrote plays and where Thomas Middleton’s dramas were first staged.

Munro explains, “We know that the people who performed in plays at the Fortune were men and boys, but I find it really exciting that these women thought that the theatre was for them, and that it wasn’t just for men.”

Read more about the work of Engendering the Stage here.